Applying dolomitic limestone can work wonders for your lawn or garden by providing key nutrients for growth, but it's important to understand how to properly apply this amendment to get the best results.
Dolomitic Limestone Characteristics
Dolomitic lime is a soil amendment made by grinding dolomite down so that it can be used in gardens and lawns. Although it is not technically limestone, dolomite is very similar to limestone in its high calcium content. The difference between dolomitic and agricultural or garden lime is that in addition to calcium, dolomitic lime also contains magnesium, a crucial element for plant growth. Dolomitic lime should be used instead of garden or agricultural lime only if a soil test indicates that your soil is deficient in calcium as well as magnesium.
The only way to be certain that your garden or lawn requires lime is to test your soil. Contact your county extension office or local soil testing lab to receive a testing kit and carefully follow the instructions provided with your kit. Generally, to collect samples of your soil for analysis, use a garden trowel to dig up three to five samples from different locations in your lawn and three to five samples from different locations in your garden. Samples should be taken at a depth of 6 inches, mixed together by area -- lawn samples and garden samples should be separate -- to form a composite and mailed to the soil testing lab.
Dolomitic Lime Benefits
If your lawn or garden needs calcium or magnesium, applying dolomitic lime can result in huge benefits. It can reduce soil acidity that inhibits grass and vegetable growth by improving soil's low pH. It also adds calcium and magnesium, which makes vegetable plants more productive and reduces aluminum and manganese toxicity that cause poor growth. Finally, dolomitic lime makes micronutrients more available to plants and prevents vegetable diseases that result from nutrient deficiencies.
Dolomitic Lime Application
Dolomitic Lime for Gardens
As a general rule, use approximately 50 pounds of dolomitic lime for each 1,000 square feet of garden area. Rely on your soil test results for an exact indication of how much lime to use for your soil type.
Apply dolomitic lime at least two to three months prior to planting your garden. If you use lime after this point, it will take several weeks for results.
Use a shovel or spade to spread 50 pounds of dolomitic lime per 1,000 square feet of garden area, or use the amount advised in your soil test results. Spread the lime evenly across the garden.
Work the dolomitic lime 6 inches into the soil with a garden spade.
Water the soil thoroughly using a watering can or hose to ensure that the chemical reaction needed to release nutrients takes place.
Dolomitic Lime for Lawns
Purchase a pellet form of dolomitic lime and use it at the rate of 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Prior to fertilizing your lawn in fall or spring, place the amount of dolomitic lime indicated by the package's instructions in a drop or rotary spreader.
Adjust the spreader setting according to the lime package instructions.
Push the spreader horizontally across your lawn. Make a second pass, pushing the drop or rotary spreader across your lawn at a right angle to the initial pass.
Water your lawn with a sprinkler or sprayer to ensure that the lime is properly absorbed into the soil.